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Daily Devotion for February 13, 2017
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
A Puritan Prayer
Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Your care. Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me. Incline my heart to Your ways. Mold me completely into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay.
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Your praise. Let those around see me living by Your Spirit, trampling the world underfoot, unconformed to lying vanities, transformed by a renewed mind, clothed in the entire armour of God, shining as a never-dimmed light, showing holiness in all my doings. Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, and hands.
May I travel swampy paths with a life pure from spot or stain. In every transaction let my affection be in heaven, and my love soar upwards in flames of fire, my gaze fixed on unseen things, my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility, mockery of earth and its vanities. May I view all things in the mirror of eternity, waiting for the coming of my Lord, listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all my communications according to Your wisdom, and to the gain of mutual good. Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable. May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end today, let this be my best day. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord and Savior,
For the Holy Spirit
O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.
Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and may I know your presence every second of this day.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
Was Jesus omniscient? Cite a Bible verse to support your answer.
Answer: No, Jesus intentionally did not have divine knowledge during His life.
E.g., “Although He existed in the form of God, Christ did not retain equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant . . . .” ~ Philippians 2:6-7
Psalm 118:1-4 (NKJV)
O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Awake, lute and harp!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples,
And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your mercy is great above the heavens,
And Your truth reaches to the clouds.
Galatians 6:12 (Daily Prayer Bible)
Compromising Our Faith (Galatians #94)
Those who want to make a good showing in the flesh try to coerce you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Notes on the Scripture
irst off, we must understand the specifics of what Paul is saying. Christians in Galatia were being persecuted by the Jews. The Jews had reached a sort of equilibrium of toleration with the Roman Empire. They were allowed to practice Judaism as long as they accepted Roman political authority. The Sanhedrin (especially the “Herodians”) was a political instrument of Roman collaboration. In return — as was so vividly demonstrated by Rome’s cooperation in the crucifixion of Jesus — Rome would assist the Sanhedrin in suppressing non-conforming religious sects.
There would be no systematic, official Roman persecution of Christians until the 3rd century A.D. Persecution was erratic and, with the notable exception of Nero, was usually initiated by Jewish complaints. (We see a good example of how this could happen — albeit by complaint of Greeks — in Acts 19:21-40.)
So we can understand why some Christians wanted to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses. It helped keep them “under the radar” of the Jewish authorities. They were not so obviously the members of a non-Jewish religion, but simply appeared to be practicing Judaism with a few odd twists.
But despite some similarities, Chapters 3-5 of Galatians has just informed us that Judaism and Christianity are irreconcilable. “Whoever seeks to be justified by law cuts himself off from Christ and falls from grace.” (Galatians 5:4) As Christ said, we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24); and we cannot follow Judaism and Christianity. Being circumcised as an outward sign of reliance upon the law of Moses for salvation, demonstrates a lack of complete faith in Jesus Christ.
But how does this relate to us, today? In two ways. The smaller sense is the specific one: there is no such thing as following both Judaism (in the religious sense) and Christianity. People who try to do it are confused.
The greater lesson, however, is the more general one. Paul’s message that Christianity should not be compromised by outward compliance with another religion extends to non-religious activity that is inconsistent with Christian faith.
If we attend a bachelor party, do we “go along with the crowd” to a strip club? If the women in our social circle wear frivolously expensive and immodest clothes, do we “have a little fun” and dress like them? Are we more afraid to be social outcasts or to offend almighty God?
Looking back to Chapter 5, we can see that these are works of the flesh, rather than fruit of the spirit, and this is precisely what Paul means to criticize: “Those who want to make a good showing in the flesh . . . .”